ASM Online Member Community

  • 1.  Looking for Your Thoughts & Advice! – Students, Professionals, and Mentors

    Posted 01-11-2022 16:47
    Edited by Ho Lun Chan 01-19-2022 19:03

    Hello ASM members! Happy New Year! I wish you a productive and healthy 2022!

    My name is Lun. I am a part of the ASM Emerging Professional Committee (EPC) leading this year's progress on ASM Young Professional Mentorship development.

    As we are planning our yearly program, first we would love to hear your thoughts and perspectives on the career development, education aspect of the materials engineering industry. Your thoughts would be of great input to us! You may respond to one or more questions!

    If you are in the industry or national labs sector,

    1. When you are in a hiring position for an entry level position, what is the first thing/quality you look for? (e.g. Degree? Technical skills? Previous Job Experience? Presentation Skills?). If you have a very impressed encounter, can you share with us?
    2. Remember when you started your first job, what is/are the thing(s) that you wish you would have learned from school? (e.g. Maybe a particular software that industry uses? Six Sigma? Industry cert?)
    3. What is/are one or two things you wish current entry engineers would know before entering the industry? (e.g. can be technical or non-technical)
    4. What are some common good/bad qualities that the current entry engineers have? How do they different compared to when you started your career?
    5. Lastly, what is one advice you would give to a student or young professionals? 

    If you are a student, may you please let me know your questions:

    1. Do your school requires an internship or co-op experience to graduate?
    2. Do your school has a Material Advantage chapter? Are they active?
    3. Are you involved with your ASM Chapter?
    4. What is one thing you wish your program can teach you but didn't (e.g. knowing how to use thermocal for example).


    Thank you very much for your time! I am looking forward your time and thoughts! After gathering thoughts and your generous feedback, I would love to update this post with our yearly planning!



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    Ho Lun Chan
    PhD Candidate, University of Virginia
    Mentorship Chair, ASM Emerging Professional Committee
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    Data Ecosystem - Global Materials Platform


  • 2.  RE: Looking for Your Thoughts & Advice! – Students, Professionals, and Mentors

    Posted 01-14-2022 10:27
    1. When you are in a hiring position for an entry level position, what is the first thing/quality you look for? Technical skills,  Presentation Skills. 
    2. Remember when you started your first job, what is/are the thing(s) that you wish you would have learned from school? More in depth details about report writing.
    3. What is/are one or two things you wish current entry engineers would know before entering the industry? Time management, Problem solving.
    4. Lastly, what is one advice you would give to a student or young professionals? As they start working in the carrier, try to put themselves in their  boss's shoe, in another words, "if I was in my boss's position what would I expect from my team member (s). How the boss makes decisions in given circumstances.


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    Sanjay Kulkarni
    Materials Engineer
    MSSC
    Troy, MI
    248-840-1056
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    Data Ecosystem - Global Materials Platform


  • 3.  RE: Looking for Your Thoughts & Advice! – Students, Professionals, and Mentors

    Posted 01-15-2022 15:10
    Lun, here are some comments.
    When you are in a hiring position for an entry level position, what is the first thing/quality you look for? (e.g. Degree? Technical skills? Previous Job Experience? Presentation Skills?). If you have a very impressed encounter, can you share with us?
          While it's very MBA to ask for the "first thing", if a candidate gets all the way to the interview process they have to have already jumped several hurdles:
          Degree is a minimum. 
          You stated "entry level".  For entry level, previous job experience is usually minimal, but if someone has a couple of years in already, or had a very applicable student co-op job, then that would be considered.
          To be honest, my employer quit hiring entry level people for our group because of the need for immediate usefulness and to reduce the load of training on the experienced people already there.  Though I still needed to do lots of mentoring.  For these advanced positions, previous directly applicable job experience was the highest value.

    Remember when you started your first job, what is/are the thing(s) that you wish you would have learned from school? (e.g. Maybe a particular software that industry uses? Six Sigma? Industry cert?)
          Though I had taken some serious statistics courses, I was totally ignorant of the industrial methods of sampling of manufactured parts.

    What is/are one or two things you wish current entry engineers would know before entering the industry? (e.g. can be technical or non-technical)
           I think that while some things have changed, being able to write well and communicate well are still very important.  The ability to do technical writing well is a skill that will be important for much of one's career.

    What are some common good/bad qualities that the current entry engineers have? How do they different compared to when you started your career?
           Short attention spans and reliance/addiction to social media are bad qualities.  Research is showing that constant interruptions are seriously negative to productivity.  While interruptions are always a problem, social media usage was not an issue way back in my career.   On the good side, many schools now emphasize having students work towards goals in diverse project teams which is very valuable experience for how much of industry works. This was not a big thing when I started.

    Lastly, what is one advice you would give to a student or young professionals?
            Immediately sit down and write a spreadsheet of goals including financial, and make sure it goes to age 90+.  This will help you realize that starting savings ASAP will have an immense impact on your future life and retirement.  Be realistic and conservative about the future, and plan for a long life.
    Ho Lun Chan,  01-11-2022 16:47
    I hope that this is useful for you!

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    Paul Tibbals, P.E. (retired)
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    Data Ecosystem - Global Materials Platform


  • 4.  RE: Looking for Your Thoughts & Advice! – Students, Professionals, and Mentors

    Long Island Chptr Admin
    Posted 01-17-2022 11:04
    Ho-Lun and company -

    1)  The "interview process" is to briefly confirm the candidates technical skills
    and to judge their interaction/communication skills.

    2) All alumni tell me how useful it was for me to impress communications skills
    and industry standards (ASTM, ISO, etc...)

    3) I wish they had more physical (hands on) hobbies, which develops confidence
    in completing tasks.

    4) Too much reliance on "internet" social networking, and not enough on 
    inter-personal "human" networking.

    5) There is no ONE advice.  Instead, know the locations of major sources
    of information (ASM handbooks, ASTM stds, text books, .....), be prepared
    to study them as needed, demonstrate your knowledge of the content, and
    clearly communicate that to others.  Ooh.......and SPELL CHECK!!!!

    - Jim



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    James Quinn
    Dir. of Laboratories
    Stony Brook University
    Stony Brook NY
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    Data Ecosystem - Global Materials Platform


  • 5.  RE: Looking for Your Thoughts & Advice! – Students, Professionals, and Mentors

    W Michigan Chapter Adm
    Posted 01-17-2022 15:40

    If you are in the industry or national labs sector,

    1. When you are in a hiring position for an entry level position, what is the first thing/quality you look for? (e.g. Degree? Technical skills? Previous Job Experience? Presentation Skills?). If you have a very impressed encounter, can you share with us?
    We do a lot of hiring of foreign (non-US, year long) interns and domestic (mainly summer) interns. The first thing I look for is ability to communicate, primarily on a "simple" level. I like asking questions along the lines of "What do you do for fun?" "Who is your favorite professor and why?" "Who is your worst professor and why?" "Tell me why you chose XXXXX engineering?" "What circumstances brought you to where you are now?"

    For me, I don't really care what the answers are. But I do care about how they communicate them to me. I don't look for an experienced performer, but someone who can talk in detail about something. Hopefully with passion. I have been very disappointed at how many people can barely tell me why they chose materials engineering or even why they like to go for long walks. These are people who I am going to have to teach what to do and who are going to have to interact with their other teammates. I try to figure out if their personality will match or irritate the other team members. Do they have a passion for learning or at least a desire to learn more? Or are they just going to "mark time?" Are they going to talk over others or are they going to listen and learn. Are they going to add some "spark" to the lab? Are they going to be a spontaneous "helper?" What kind of language do they use? Are they telling me what they think I want to hear or are they giving me honest answers.

    Perhaps I miss out on some good but quite candidates. But as I am already expecting to have to teach them just about everything (not too many aluminum experts coming out of Universities) I am not too concerned about prior experience. I am looking for someone who is willing to be taught.  

    1. Remember when you started your first job, what is/are the thing(s) that you wish you would have learned from school? (e.g. Maybe a particular software that industry uses? Six Sigma? Industry cert?)
    More education on statistics. High level calculus and differential equations have their use, but having a familiarity with standard deviation, t-tests, Z-values, SPC charts, would give them a leg up. I never had the statistics requirement in college and feel I have missed out on a key tool. 6 sigma and other methods use it a lot.

    1. What is/are one or two things you wish current entry engineers would know before entering the industry? (e.g. can be technical or non-technical)
    Statistics (see above). Having co-op / intern experience would help immensely. I remember struggling a lot with figuring out "how" to get such a position, which I never really succeeded at. There are a lot of companies looking for help, and a lot of students looking for experience. Knowing when is the best time to apply, how to apply, how to search is lacking for a lot of youth used to being told what to do next. And a lot of advice revolves around "showing up and handing out a resume." After years of being told to sit down and shut up, suddenly we are expecting them to stand up and get noticed.

    1. What are some common good/bad qualities that the current entry engineers have? How do they different compared to when you started your career?
    Bad quality - laziness. We have had a few bad apples that either think they don't need to be taught anything or are only interested in marking time until the next paycheck arrives. 

    Good quality - I have been very fortunate to have some very amazingly motivated individuals pass through here. Wish I could have kept a few. Several were non-material science majors (e.g. Mech E and Aero E) who took the time to embrace the work and do a quality job. 

    Good quality - many are very informed on how to do online information searches and they do them effectively.

    Probably no different than when I started.


    1. Lastly, what is one advice you would give to a student or young professionals? 
    Network! Join a group or 2 (such as ASM). Go to meetings. Learn to talk to strangers. Listen to what they say, who they say it to, and how they say it.  You will learn about corporate politics, common mistakes, and, most importantly, how all companies are "basket cases" in their own way, even if they are big and well known in their field. And you may have some fun, too! You don't even have to take on a leadership role - just participate.  You will learn about who the good companies are, what companies to avoid, and can get references when you want to move on to the next level in your career.

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    David Betz
    Sr. Laboratory Engineer
    Hydro Aluminum Metals, USA
    dbetzasm@gmail.com
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    Data Ecosystem - Global Materials Platform